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Botanical Agents

Coleus Forskohlii (Makandi)

18 years, 6 months ago

10974  0
Posted on Dec 30, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Coleus Forskohlii is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family native to India. The root is used medicinally. Ancient Sanskrit texts show that coleus was commonly used to treat heart and lung diseases, intestinal spasms, insomnia, and convulsions. Today it is employed in the treatment of glaucoma.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Coleus Forskohlii is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family native to India. The root is used medicinally. Ancient Sanskrit texts show that coleus was commonly used to treat heart and lung diseases, intestinal spasms, insomnia, and convulsions. Today it is employed in the treatment of glaucoma.

ROLE FOR ANTI-AGING:

Forskolin is a diterpene found in coleus that inhibits the enzyme adenylate cyclase. Adenylate cyclase regulates the formation of cAMP, a compound that controls many cellular activities. Forskolin-induced elevation of cAMP levels has been shown to cause blood vessel dilation, inhibition of mast cells (hence the herb is a powerful agent for reducing inflammation caused by allergies), an increase in thyroid hormone secretion, and the stimulation of fat release from fat cells. Research carried out in 1983 by Agarwal and Parks suggested that forskolin was able to inhibit the spread of cancer cells. Direct application of forskolin to the eyes has consistently been shown to lower the pressure inside the eye, therefore the herb can be useful for treating glaucoma. One study on humans has shown that forskolin can reduce blood pressure and improve heart function in people with cardiomyopathy.

THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT:

50 to 100 mg can be taken 2 or 3 times per day. Fluid extract can be taken in the amount of 2 to 4 ml three times per day. The majority of clinical studies have used injected forskolin, so it is unclear if oral ingestion of coleus extracts will provide similar benefits in the amounts recommended above.

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: Not established

SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS:

Coleus is thought to be free from side effects, however it should be avoided in people with stomach ulcers as it may increase stomach acid levels. There are reasons to suggest that  coleus could potentiate anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin, however, such an effect has never been documented. The safety of coleus in pregnancy and lactation is unknown.

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